Decadal scale projection of changes in Australian fisheries stocks under climate change

Project Number:




Principal Investigator:

Beth Fulton

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:



Adoption, Communities, Environment, Industry

Decadal scale projection of changes in Australian fisheries stocks under climate change

Final Report
ISBN: 978-1-4863-1108-8
Author(s):Elizabeth A. Fulton, Alistair J. Hobday, Heidi Pethybridge, Julia Blanchard, Cathy Bulman, Ian Butler, William Cheung, Leo Dutra, Rebecca Gorton, Trevor Hutton, Hector Lozano-Montes, Richard Matear, Gretta Pecl, Eva E. Plagányi, Cecilia Villanueva, and Xuebin Zhang
Date Published:March 2018

Australia's oceans are undergoing rapid change and changes in fish distribution, abundance and phenology have been widely reported. A first step in ensuring that the fisheries of Australia adapt effectively to climate change is an understanding of the historical and projected changes in the species captured. This information will underpin development of industry and management responses and management systems that will allow negative impacts to be mitigated and opportunities that arise to be seized. 

This project takes two approaches to understanding climate impacts on species that are captured in Australian fisheries - species sensitivity analysis (Part 1) and ecosystem modelling based on new climate projections (Part 2). Species level responses for each of the Commonwealth fisheries are detailed in both sections, followed by a concluding synthesis and list of recommendations (Part 3).

Keywords: Sensitivity analysis, Vulnerability, Ecosystem modelling, Climate variability, Adaptive management


1. Synthesis of existing climate vulnerability information and communicate this to management and other stakeholders

2. Update CSIRO held Australian ecosystem models with the system status information and the latest climate impacts information

3. Run ecosystem projections out to 2050 using the latest Australian OFAM models (i.e. latest physical projections), noting ecosystem and species level effects at 5 or 10 year intervals/averages

4. Distill the fine scale (where possible species level) projections for the Australian EEZ from the FISHMIP model repository.

5. Provide advice on (i) likely impacts of climate in the short, medium and long term; (ii) information gaps and priorities for tracking climate impacts on individual fisheries.

6. Provide output from modelling as input to FRDC Project [FRDC 2016-059] "Adaptation of Commonwealth fisheries management to climate change"